Veteran El Paso lawyer Bill Hicks is the new El Paso district attorney, the governor’s office announced Wednesday - the same day embattled District Attorney Yvonne Rosales’ resignation went into effect.
Hicks, who is currently in private practice, worked as an assistant district attorney under Jaime Esparza from 1998 until 2010, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry appointed him to fill a vacancy as judge of the 243rd District Court.
Hicks could not be reached for comment. He will serve the remaining two years of Rosales’ term, which ends in 2024.
Hicks is the first Republican to serve as district attorney for an area that includes El Paso, Hudspeth and Culberson counties.
Texas Sen. César Blanco, D-El Paso, whose district covers the counties Hicks will serve, applauded the choice.
“I have had conversations with Judge Hicks and with his more than 22 years of legal experience as a judge, assistant district attorney, and criminal and injury defense attorney, I am confident he will bring order, competence, and trust back into the District Attorney's Office while being a steward of office for the people of El Paso, Culberson, and Hudspeth counties,” Blanco said.
Hicks takes over a prosecutor’s office facing enormous challenges after two years under Rosales.
Facing a March trial on a court petition to remove her from office on grounds of incompetency and official misconduct, Rosales announced Nov. 28 that she would leave office effective Dec. 14.
In recent months, hundreds of criminal cases were dismissed because prosecutors had not sought indictments in the time allowed by law.
Rosales and her associates also have faced disturbing accusations that they used the family of a man killed in the 2019 Walmart terror attack to criticize the judge overseeing the case, Sam Medrano Jr., and a former prosecutor on the case. When the family began asking questions, Rosales and her associates allegedly made threats and took steps to block them from testifying about what had happened, according to testimony and court filings.
Rosales asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when asked about the allegations at a Dec. 1 court hearing.
This is a developing story and will be updated.